Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Martinez: Upholding Guideline Enhancement for Possessing Gun In Connection With Another Felony

In United States v. Martinez, No. 18-12950 (July 14, 2020) (Luck, William Pryor, Jill Pryor), the Court affirmed an enhancement under USSG 2K2.1(b)(6)(B) for unlawfully possessing a firearm with knowledge, intent, or reason to believe that it would be used or possessed in connection with another felony.

The issue on appeal was whether the enhancement applied where the defendant plans to trade a gun for drugs in the future.  The Court held that it does where the  defendant “knew, intended, or had reason to believe (rather than hoped, wished, or dreamed) the gun was going to be used to buy drugs, and the sale would have (rather than may or might have) happened but for the defendant’s arrest or something else getting in the way.”  Because the district court in this case found that the defendant to trade his gun for a pound of drugs that he planned to sell, and that finding was not clearly erroneous, the Court upheld the enhancement.